Your team of doctors, nurses and social workers are valuable sources of support as you cope with a cancer diagnosis.

When you first heard the word “cancer,” you may have felt shocked, scared or numb. You may have felt disbelief. Reactions to a diagnosis are unique; there is no wrong or right way to respond to this news. Many newly diagnosed people face similar challenges: you may want to obtain information about the diagnosis and treatment options, ask questions to understand how the treatment plan will affect your life and find out what resources may be helpful throughout the process.

The relationship you have with your health care team can make a big difference in how you cope with these challenges. Research shows that people who have good communication with their health care team are more satisfied with their medical care than those who do not. They also tend to fare better emotionally and better manage symptoms such as treatment side effects and pain.

This booklet discusses ways to develop good communication with your health care team so you have access to the best possible care. It also explores ways you can take an active role in your care as a key member of that team. After all, you are the person who best knows how your treatment is affecting your quality of life and what issues are most important to you.